Jericho, an ex-cop who now works for a private security firm, learns that a young woman has been targeted to bear The Devil’s baby and bring about the end of days. Jericho sets out to find and protect this woman and keep the world, as we know it, from ceasing to exist. He battles the clock as he encounters a series of Devil worshipers intent on thwarting his search for a young woman he has yet to meet.
Critics almost universally panned End of Days but I am left wondering what the hell they were expecting. End of Days is not a classic; it is not Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen but it is a good time and it is full of action explosions. That’s all that I was expecting from it and I was not entirely disappointed. End of Days is a hybrid of action and horror. The two genres are melded in a rare but enjoyable pairing. The disappointing box office yield for this film is probably why we haven’t seen action and horror paired together much since this film’s release (outside of the Resident Evil franchise).
Peter Hyams (Stay Tuned) directs End of Days. He shows a reasonable understanding for the conventions that make both action and horror films successful but End of Days didn’t catch on with audiences like the studio was expecting. And it failed to earn back its estimated budget during its box office run.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Jericho shows slightly more depth than is customary in his films. Jericho is an ex-cop who lost his will to live when he lost his wife and daughter. Certainly, Schwarzenegger does not deliver an Oscar caliber performance but it isn’t bad when compared to some of the other films he has starred in. Robin Tunney (The Craft) isn’t bad in her turn as Christine, the young woman who has been chosen to bear the devil’s baby. I’ve always found Tunney to be likable and she doesn’t buck the trend here. Character actor Kevin Pollack delivers a decent performance as Bobby, the primary source of comic relief. And Gabriel Byrne is not bad as the devil. Byrne was a reasonable choice to play the master of darkness. His dark, brooding features, and his serious nature aid Byrne in his portrayal.
End of Days is fast paced and delivers a high level of intensity right out of the gate. There is nearly no down time in the film. It’s action packed from start to finish. It is formulaic but the formula usually works.
The worst thing about the film is that it relies heavily on the use of CGI. It wasn’t as noticeably bad when the film came out but time has not been kind to the effects in this film. Even the fire looks bad and CG flames are hard to screw up.
If you haven’t watched End of Days because of its bad reputation, give it a chance and keep an open mind. If you aren’t expecting anything, you may not be disappointed.
Director(s): Peter Hyams
Writer(s): Andrew W. Marlowe
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne
Studio/ Production Co: Universal Pictures
Budget: $80 Million
Length: 123 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural Horror